Nominated by:

Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma, Italy

Publisher of nominated edition:

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, USA

The Story of My Purity

Francesco Pacifico      

Translated from the original Italian by Stephen Twilley

2015 Longlist

An exuberant tale of a man caught between faith and freedom, from one of Italy’s most talented young novelists.
Thirty years old, growing flabby in a sexless marriage, Piero Rosini has decided to dedicate his life to Jesus. He’s renounced the novels and American music that were filling his head with bullshit; he’s moved out of his fancy bourgeois neighborhood, which was keeping him from finding spiritual purity and the Lord’s truth. Now that he and his wife have settled into an unfinished housing development on the far outskirts of Rome, he’ll be able to really concentrate on his job at an ultraconservative Catholic publishing house, editing books that highlight the decadence and degradation of modern society, including one claiming that Pope John Paul II was secretly Jewish. But Piero is suffocating. He worries that The Jewish Pope might be taking things too far. He can’t get his beautiful sister-in-law out of his head. Temptations are breaking down his religious resolve. He decides to flee to Paris, which turns out not to be the best way of guarding his purity.

With a charismatic narrator as familiar with the finer points of Christian theology as with the floor layout of IKEA and the schedules of European budget airlines, Francesco Pacifico’s exuberant novel brings us Europe old and new and the inner workings of a conflicted but always compelling mind. The Story of My Purity is fiction with great humor, intelligence, neuroticism, and vision, from a young writer at the beginning of a tremendous career.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Francesco Pacifico has written for a number of Italian publications, as well as for Rolling Stone and GQ, and has translated into Italian the works of Henry Miller, Allen Ginsberg, Dave Eggers, Will Eisner, and more. He lives in Rome.

About the Translator

Stephen Twilley is managing editor of the online review Public Books and the translator of several books from Italian.

Related Entries